While I ruminate over my ideas for Books 2 and 3, I continue to draw…
Archives For Progress Report
Keeping you up to date with how much I’ve written
So I’m beginning work on Book #2 of the “Weapons of War Trilogy” (current title … what can I say, I am rather attached to it). I’m trying out the beta version of the upcoming writing software “Novel Factory“. It’s challenging, because I don’t naturally work in such a structured way. And yet it’s very helpful, because that structure is exactly what I need to help me create a quality follow-up to the first book.
I learned a lot working on that first book. I learned from Larry Brooks about story structure – midpoint reversals and plot points, etc – and Randy Ingermanson about the Snowflake method of developing an idea through to a publishable novel, and I have learned TONS of stuff from Janice Hardy, from various methods of writing strategy through detailed how-to’s when it comes to reducing passive voice and writing dialogue and the like.
The Novel Factory Software combines a lot of those ideas and helps the novice writer (or the semi-experienced with heaps more yet to learn) apply the theory. It still leaves a lot of room for the writer to do their own research, but it even helps a bit with that, with a “Resources” section with links to where you can purchase well-known writing advice books. But it basically guides you through the Snowflake method, while also getting you to think about the major plot points. It even gets you thinking about Scenes and Sequels (Heads and Tails in the software) … It’s really rather cool. The more I look at it, the more I can see it being incredibly helpful.
Another feature I really love – because I thought about doing it for my first novel but didn’t get myself organized enough to do it – is that for each character, it encourages you to write a mini-synopsis for each scene re: what each character is up to. To me, that is a really good idea. As I said, I wanted to do it the first time around, I just got lazy. But this makes it so much easier – I believe it automatically links the scenes a character is in to the character’s profile so you can then go and make notes about what that character is doing at the time.
I haven’t actually started writing yet, I admit, but that is because I don’t have the story worked out just yet. I have a couple of scene ideas, which are evolving as I think because of other ideas that have cropped up – and changes I made to the end of the First Book, which affect character knowledge at the start of Book Two … probably for the best.
The one thing I have requested is a bit more of a sandbox area. I mean, I love the organizational structure of the software. But I am a partial-pantster. I need a little space to just play. Also, whenever I delete scenes or sections, I always keep them. So I need a place to move them to. We shall see if that shows up in the final edition of the programme. I have played with yWriter and Scrivener previously (Book 1 was greatly developed in yWriter and completed in Scrivener). I made the switch to Scrivener because I liked the flexibility it offered me to design my own work area. Well, actually, the main draw was that I could build my character profiles and link as many photos as I wanted … (Hello, Novel Factory … you do that too, you say? Hmmmm). The total freedom of structure in Scrivener did lead to my files getting rather messy. I actually have three Scrivener projects leading to the final version of my story. Although, that’s not really a reflection of the software – that’s how different some of my versions were … They were so different I had to basically start over.
Anyway, this post is turning into a bit of a ramble, and bedtime is fast approaching. I just wanted to toot the horn for this new piece of writing software. I think it shows a lot of promise.
The final draft of what I am now calling “Healer’s Touch (Book 1 of Weapons of War trilogy)” – trilogy being expected, but tentative until I nail down a few more details – is done and submitted in a competition to, hopefully, win a critique.
So the plan is to try not to look at it for the next 4-6wks. I may look at it for the sake of:
1. studying it for structure so I can learn from what I’ve done and hopefully do things more efficiently next time
2. making notes re: character details/timelines so that I have good reference material to go on with
I have several other things I can do instead: Continue Reading…
My first “Beta Reader” report came back tonight. This is good. I may just have enough time to address the issues raised (which were already in the back of my mind, anyway) before the Tuesday deadline for the Manuscript Contest.
It sucks a little bit that I was aware of some of the issues already. It means I had chosen to put them in the “Too Hard” basket. But then again, I like a challenge. Can I deal with htem without fundamentally changing the story? I think I can. It’s amazing how much I have had to leave out of this just over 100,000 word story (currently at 103,908), and I’m about to take out a little more (because it is simply an issue I didn’t have the space for my characters to deal with in this story). I was worried I wouldn’t have material for a trilogy. I think I do now that I have to keep relegating all this stuff to Book 2. It is stuff that readers will want to know – it’s good back story! But it was awkward to bring up in this Book.
Oh, one comment from my reader was that the title (“Weapons of War”) wasn’t all that “interesting” … hmmm. Anyone got any ideas?
That could still be the title of the Trilogy, of course. I haven’t finalized that, yet.
So themes to base titles on …
* I have a girl who can heal (she is a Syaenuk – the most superior form of the Aenuk race).
* I have a man who is super fast and strong (he is a Syakaran – the most superior form of the Karan (pl. Kara) race)
* I have two warring nations Continue Reading…
I thought I’d let y’all know where I’m at with the Work In Progress.
Currently I am working on the edits for the final chapter (OK, well, not currently … currently I’m writing a blog entry, but well, you know what I mean). In my first draft, I brought up a few issues that I plan to deal with properly in the next book – sort of a foreshadowing kind of thing. But, well, I think my readers would prefer a happy ending. So, on this edit, I am reviewing what issues get brought back to mind for the readers.
I’ve been trying to decide if my story is a straight adult Fantasy novel, or if I should class it as YA Fantasy. I suppose that with my two protags being 17 and 22, it is more YA. Plus, I read a snippet to a friend last night and realized just how tongue-in-cheek a lot of my writing is. I can’t seem to help writing with a jovial-lilt. It’s my “voice”, I guess. I don’t know. I guess I’ll get a few people to read it and see how it goes. I’ve had positive comments from various people – male, female, older and younger than myself, so maybe it doesn’t matter. I guess I label it fantasy and let the blurb and first few pages advertise it. I don’t know. I’ve never done this before. And I don’t see me going through a publisher at this stage, so I’ve got to sort it out myself.
It’s a bit of a game we play, isn’t it? You put your piece out there and see where it lands … will you collect $200? Will you go directly to jail? Will you have to pay a fine for landing on someone else’s square?
So, I’ve been editing up a storm. The Weekend went really well. I made edits on a hard-copy print out, so then I had to type them up. Great – actually, it was quite good – I got to revise the edits (some I ended up ignoring, and some I re-edited).
Now I am up to the chapters that I know need some serious editing . . . or, rather, re-writing. I need to double-check character motivations and reactions, and then there are those two coincidences in one chapter to tackle. Well, as of tonight, I have a plan for one of them. And, I do have a plan for the rest of it . . .
So, why is the actual re-writing so hard? Maybe I’m scared that the re-writes will need more re-writes . . . Hmm . . . Well, I guess I won’t know until I do them. And time is running out!
I think part of it is finding the “perfect” (or, at least, “perfect enough”) environment to write in. Fact is, I got me and the toddler out of the house fairly early this morning. We went for a drive to drop off some work documents; then we hung out at the dog park for an hour, throwing the ball for the dog and walking the paths; and then it was the supermarket . . . We got home right on lunch time, so it was lunch, nappy, and get the kid off to bed. He went down pretty easily because he was tired. But, guess what? So was I . . . Writing didn’t come so easy under the circumstances. Luckily I had edits, and a new (handwritten) scene to type up, so I got something done.
And, of course, I’m trying to do my voting for The Countdown, which means listening to music that I need to pay a little attention to while I write. Hmm. Not the “perfect” environment.
Well, I think I shall head to bed. I’m reading a friend’s story (which can be found here – NB: it’s really rather good … starts off a bit romancy for my taste, but it really picks up the pace – and she’s still working on it, so it will no doubt be awesome by the time she finishes it) and it keeps keeping me up late. So, I really ought to get to bed a little earlier!
Wish me luck with my re-writes. I just have to commit. Put them in written words. Get them out of my head. Yes. Must. Tomorrow . . . By the end of the weekend . . .
P.S. Seriously considering taking up that “get up before the rest of the household wakes” writing timetable … considering.
I just wanted to record this:
Yep, that’s 90,000+ words – actually managed to reach 90,094 before the toddler woke this afternoon. And I still have a month before the competition deadline. I’m really feeling like I can do this. Barring some disaster, I really think I can . . .
Anyway, 90,000 words is my projected 75% mark. 25% (est) to go. My characters have been rock bottom. Things are starting to look up (but, I still have more for them), and then we will be onto the tidy up.
Well, keep watching this space over the next month. I’ll keep you posted.
Oops, it’s been a whole week since I posted anything. The shame.
And here I had been trying to come up with plans of regular post-types – music, snippets, other stuff … But, well, you know … Good intentions and all that jazz.
The story goes that I have decided to take a shot at a novel manuscript competition, because it happens to have come up and my manuscript is kind of nearly finished. Nearly finished enough, I think, for me to bash out the last bit, hopefully leave myself time for a couple of read-throughs and a little finessing and submit. That won’t mean it is finished to my satisfaction, but it will be “good enough” to be assessed on story, which, if I were to be one of the top three winners (yeah, unlikely, given the last-minute rush, but maybe the others are in the same position …), would win me a critique (the three prizes include critiques – which would save hundreds of $$). A critique would be fab. If I don’t win, I will go through the story a few more times, see if I can get away with a few tweaks, or if I’d be better off re-writing huge chunks … I can imagine that being the case. And then, I would find my own manuscript assessor.
One of the potential outcomes of the contest is an invitation to be published through Steam Press. Something tells me my story won’t be a fit for their company, but we shall see. There are no promises, no expectations.
Anyway, it’s been good for me. I’ve been powering along. And some of the writing isn’t terrible. I might be in with a shot at this.
It’s great because I’ve had the opening of the next novel sitting in my brain for months, now, so it’s nice to think I’m getting close to writing that down and sussing out the rest of the story … and I’d like to outline a 3rd book at the same time.
I get those voices in the back of my head saying “What makes you think you can actually do this? You haven’t been writing long enough. You’re not that good.” But, I figure, a huge chunk of success comes from determination, and I’m determined. My goal is publication and continued writing. Yes, I want to continue with this story, and yes, I want to write others.
I have found several readers who have found pleasure in the journey I have taken with this story. I hope to find several more with the final version. But, you know, it’s a gamble. We shall see.
Right, yes … So, I have a ton of fun stuff to say, but I think it’s all been said by other people, so I just feel like I’m copying.
Basically, I was just noticing that it’s been a while since I posted here, and thought people might want to know if I’m still breathing. I am, despite my cold bugs’ best efforts. So, yay!
So, where I’m at:
Over on Jottify Wow is being plugged for a third time by the lovely Sonya Lano. What does that mean? It means that someone likes my story. Which is nice. Getting a little positive feedback is nice. I don’t have anyone close to me interested in reading my stuff, hence why I fling my net on the ‘net. I think I have a couple of readers on writing.com, too, but they don’t talk to me (but, every new chapter I put up gets exactly 2 views within about half a day – often less). Anyway, that’s probably really boring to most of you, so I’ll skip any more.
Basically, I haven’t been up to much. Got struck by a dreaded lurgy in time for the long weekend (Queen’s Birthday here in good ol’ NZ), so that put a dampner on doing much – that and the coooold. It’s offically winter here, now. Snow to sea level expected here in Dunedin tonight. Brrr. We live at 130m. Not high, but if it goes to sea level it will be high enough. Dunedin is a hilly city – having been built over a dead volcano – so, when it snows, it can get quite tretcherous. Also, it doesn’t snow all that badly all that often, so we don’t have a major contingency plan, other than “stay at home”. What I mean is, we get one or two snow days (snow low enough and heavy enough to bring the city to a standstill … and, for us, “heavy enough” can be and inch or two) every few years.
And, now I stop here .. because WordPress ate my POST! Lesson: don’t write a really long (and entertaining) post directly into WP … because it will then forget who you are and ask you to log in and forget what you wrote. Crap.
Maybe one day I will tell you about my knee. But, obviously, tonight is not that time. It was a pretty entertaining and tragic tale. But, oh well. That’s WP. Thanks a lot.
Yep, in amongst all this music showcasing I am, indeed, still breathing life into my WIP story. Of course, I have a short story I really ought to get to work on, too … but that just seems like too much hard work at the moment.
Today I ran my story through Larry Brooks’ Beat Sheet. One could say I’m procrastinating, but I like to think of it as getting the bigger picture properly nailed down. Today’s exercise has seen me shuffle some scenes around again, making a more concrete plan as far as the sequence of events should go and generally making me feel better about the finished product I plan to ship out to the world. And, I’m enjoying all this planning and then streamlining of scenes, editting and the like. I really like working like this.: Going big, then narrowing down to what happens in a scene and then, finally, choosing the “right” (hopefully!) language for that scene. It’s a real process, and it’s very much like drawing or painting.
So, while I develop this story, I am learning how I like to work, trying out a few techniques and will, hopefully, have some idea of how I’ll do it in the future by the time I finish this. Or at least get it sorted by the end of the next one. Yeah, it’s fun. I am a big-picture kind of person, but I do also love to develop the details (which is why I can’t, despite my efforts, seem to draw in a cartoon/manga-style … they just keep coming up all realistic-like … it’s not actually what I’m trying to do … but, I love shaping and moulding those details).
Anyway, for fun … here are the first few steps of my Snowflaking efforts:
My one-sentence summary: “A girl whose power to heal also brings death fights for her freedom.”
It is recommended to keep the sentence to a maximum of 15 words … but, I have considered expanding it to: “A girl whose power to heal also brings death fights to remain free from those who would use her power to wage war.” I think that might be my “elevator pitch”, should I ever find myself in an elevator with someone who says “Hey, I’m a publisher, what’s your pitch?” and I would stand there dumbfounded for a moment thinking “Do I have ‘writer’ tattooed on my forehead?” before bumbling out my pitch, which I would trip all over the words of, thus ending any chance of picking up a publishing contract the “easy” way …
And then I have my one-paragraph summary Continue Reading…